ahhhh……kitcheree

by goodnessis

I always turn to this healing Ayurvedic dish when I need a simple cleanse.  I usually eat this dish with a variation on the vegetables for a few days – to one week – along side plenty of water, fresh fruits, steamed vegetables and herbal teas in between meals.  It always feel cleansing and nourishing on the kidneys and digestive tract.

Kitcheree is at the core of Ayurvedic healing.  There are endless variations to this dish, all dependent on the herbs, spices and vegetables used.  Kitcheree is the primary food source in Pancha Karma – Ayurvedic cleansing therapy, because of its ease of digestion and assimilation.  Whenever my tummy is feeling sensitive, kitcheree is always a medicine to my body and has the same soothing quality and nostalgia as a bowl of warm porridge.  All healing begins with the digestive tract.  Kitcheree is good for all body types and depending on your constitution a few adjustments to the recipe can help balance out your dosha.

If you tend to have a pitta imbalance (fire & earth), avoid adding heating spices like pepper, ginger, mustard seeds and chilli.  Imbalances are usually seen in skin rashes, burning sensations, ulcerations, fever, rapid changing in moods and anger.  Kapha imbalance (earth & water) avoid extra ghee and oil which can make a slow digestion and excess mucous.  Imbalances are likely to be seen as colds, congestion, depression, excess weight and headaches.   Vata (wind and space) imbalance avoid eating too many cold raw foods and increase the heating spices.  Imbalances may be seen in aching joints, dry skin and hair, nerve disturbances, constipation and mental confusion.  A skilled Ayurveda physician can access your pulse and give you the right information about your constitution.

Just a quick note on asafoetida.   It has a very strong smell due to their sulphur compounds.  Asafoetida is available in solid wax-like pieces or in powder form.  Used sparingly, it gives a flavour similar to garlic and shallots in vegetables, stews and sauces.  The smell quickly disappears with cooking.  It is a frequent ingredient in Indian dishes, especially as a replacement for garlic and onion which is not used by yogis in their cooking.  I am not sure if you have noticed, but all my recipes use no onion or garlic. Garlic and onion are avoided because they can agitate or excite the body and make it difficult for meditation.  They stimulate the nervous system.

Because of it strong flavour use very sparingly.  Another practical use for it is as a natural pesticide to ward off unwanted animals in the garden.  Mix 1 ounce of powdered asafoetida with 1 1/2 quarts of water, shake hard, then apply around plants.

healing kitcheree

(For a lighter summer kitcheree see recipe here or here.)

1/2 cup mung dahl (preferably soaked overnight)

1/2 cup brown basmati  rice

4 cups filtered water

3 cardamon pods

1 tblsp  fresh ginger,  finely chopped

3 tblsp ghee

1 tspn cumin seeds

1 whole large red chilli

1/2 tspn turmeric

1/4 tspn asafoetida powder (optional)

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cup cauliflower, trimmed and cut in small florets

1/2 cup chopped coriander

salt and coarsely ground pepper

Rinse the rice and dahl in several changes of water and drain.

Place the rice, mung beans, cardamom pods and 3 cups of water in a saucepan and simmer for 30/40 mins or until the mung beans are soft, have broken down, and the liquid has absorbed.  You may have to add water as needed.

Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee in a heavy bottomed saucepan. When hot, add the cumin, ginger and whole  chilli.  When the cumin turns medium brown, add the turmeric and asafoetida.  Add the cauliflower and tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring every 5 mins until the cauliflower is cooked.  This should take about 20 mins.  Add the dahl and rice mixture.  Season with salt, pepper and finely chopped fresh coriander and mix gently.

At serving time, garnish with fresh coriander, a squeeze of lemon and drizzle with ghee.  Top with a dollop of  spicy yoghurt and avocado mixture.

Goodness shared from Stacey